Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” played on Japanese instruments? Yes, please!【Video】

Michael Jackson‘s popularity remains strong world-wide despite his death six years ago, and that includes in Japan. There is no shortage of MJ fans in the country, and many still consider him one of their favorite artists. Of course, with a discography as massive as his, it’s nearly impossible to choose one “most famous” Michael Jackson song, but “Smooth Criminal” is certainly a strong contender. This has resulted in the tune being covered in nearly every genre imaginable, but there’s always room for one more. Especially when it’s played on shakuhachi and koto…even more so when it’s played this well!

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French twins dancing to koto performance in Kiyomizu-dera is as beautiful as it is odd【Video】

Of all the cool dance videos we’ve seen this summer, the one by the Dancing Strawhats and Koharu Sugawara was perhaps our favorite. The video did an excellent job of mixing contemporary dance and music with traditional scenery and clothing, and it was this juxtaposition that really captured our attention.

A new video by another group of contemporary dancers has captured our attention today, but this time it features Kiyomizu-deraone of Japan’s most famous temples, and some lovely music by an incredibly talented koto player. We are in love with this video and we bet you will be too!

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Wagakki Band announces second album, due to be released this September

We have great news for all our Wagakki Band fans: The group has officially announced their second album! To be released this September, the record will be titled Yasouemaki and will feature 14 tracks, including some new original songs by the band. Hardcore fans will want to be sure to get a first printing too, as it will included an extra limited-edition song. Read on for more information!

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Famikoto celebrates Nintendo with medley of game music played on traditional instruments【J-Tunes】

It should be no secret that we at RocketNews24 love traditional Japanese music. Whether its Ki&Ki with their tsugaru-jamisen songs or the Wagakki Band with their fusion of vocaloid-inspired rock and traditional instruments, we simply adore the sound. Of course, we’re also fans of Nintendo’s old video games–which is what makes Famikoto one of our favorite discoveries this season!

Check out this group’s music and get ready to take a walk down memory lane with some of Nintendo’s best theme songs!

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Rocking out with the Wagakki Band: Giving vocaloids a human voice

While vocaloids like Hatsune Miku are still relatively unknown in the West, they have quite the following in Japan and can be found taking part in everything from live concerts to limited edition smartphones. Though some may worry that the digital singers mean the end of “human” music, so far that’s hardly been the case. In fact, it’s nothing strange to find regular bands performing cover songs of vocaloid originals!

One band has taken the concept a step further by introducing some unique, traditional elements and are garnering quite a bit of attention among Japanese Internet users. Meet the Wagakki Band with Yuko Suzuhana and get ready to rock!

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Japanese duo support Lady Gaga with a unique cover of Telephone

The worldwide hit single, “Telephone”, by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce, is doing the rounds again on the Internet. Only this time,  it’s a Japanese version, featuring two traditional instruments: the koto (Japanese harp) and the shakuhachi (Japanese flute). The duo behind the cool cover are a couple of little monsters who go by the name of Team Kozan. Not only have they created an awesome rendition of the pop single, they’ve made a cool video clip too; filmed at Suga Shrine in Shinjuku, it mixes up Gaga dance moves with the sights and sounds of traditional Japan. See why the world is raving about it after the jump.

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